Here’s where I flog you…

Where it all started… £4.99 on Lulu (or less, with voucher codes on Lulu homepage)

It’s called entrapment – where I use a misleading post title to lead you to a blog episode about one of my own books. Although if you’ve been trapped by this particular title, with empty promises suggesting I will now back you into a corner and dish out some consensual punishment, you should be so lucky! After reading How To Write Hot Sex, edited by the lovely Shoshanna Evers, you can believe I know exactly what you were just thinking. And I’m allergic to latex, so it’s got to be leather all the way, if you’re entertaining any fantasies. Just to add some authenticity to the mental image.

I mean of course ‘flog’ as in the UK slang for ‘to sell’ – usually with some spiel in a cold-caller style. I imagine that the consensual punishment-types would be particularly cold in this weather, going from door to door flogging their, umm, wares – dressed only in leather chaps and some fetching little clamps.

Anyway, stop looking me up and down in your mind’s eye and allow me to distract you, Scheherezade-fashion.

When I was 18 years old, school was already a thing of the past, I was working part-time doing barely anything else to speak of other than some drawing and making notes for story ideas. My best pal and I would hang around the cemetery with her dog at 6am and watch the gravediggers, for want of anything interesting to do.

My brother, a year younger than me, went on a work placement to an IT company, and came home with what looked like a sewing machine in a suitcase.

“It’s a portable computer,” he announced. “You can write that novel now.”

Dear reader, I did exactly that. No further encouragement required, no writer’s block – just a 1-ton laptop with a 5-inch floppy disk drive, a QWERTY keyboard clipped to the bottom, and a 6-inch green screen, running Wordstar. Six months, and 101,000 words later, I had finished ‘Living Hell’ – my first book.

But it wasn’t all Jane Austen.

As a teenage reader, with nothing but Enid Blyton, Willard Price and Patricia Leitch on the Young Readers’ shelves, I’d moved on early. I’d discovered Jackie Collins, Harry Harrison, Terry Pratchett, and most notably, Tom Sharpe. Writers who made a big impression on me – and advised the notions I had of what sort of ‘new’ teenage novel I wanted to write.

I was watching films like The Lost Boys, Heathers, Beetlejuice, and getting inspired by the beginning of the musical grunge movement. What I wanted to read wasn’t being optioned by Disney.

What I came up with was a story about Jericho, a made-up town populated by Satanists and blackmailers. And what the outcome of a youth club Halloween party adds to the latest rumours that a recent suicide isn’t all as it seems. And why the local factions of self-segregated youngsters have a small issue when it comes to blood – but it’s not the popular, toothy, undead-type issue you’d imagine…

So, to find out what sort of things were going on in my head back then, read on. You might find that the title of my post wasn’t as misleading as as I let you think.

Shame on you. And on me…


Excerpt – Living Hell by Lisa Scullard, written in 1990:

Kim swung her legs over the balcony outside the Broadbents’ bedroom in silence, and crept up to the sliding glass doors. She could hear the Sergeant humming to himself in the next room, his ‘study.’ The doors were not locked and slid back smoothly at the slightest touch.

She removed the package, still giving it the obligatory shake and squeeze to try and identify the contents without actually opening it. The last place she had hidden anything had been under seven feet of concrete, so drawing on her own recent experience was no help here. At last she pulled one of the pillows off the bed and tucked the parcel underneath. As an afterthought she took a quick snapshot of it before replacing the pillow and straightening the sheets, and put the Polaroid in the pouch with the films to develop. She could always do with extra material on old Phil.

The music was reaching a crescendo, and the Sergeant’s respective humming had transformed into a full-blown la-la-la-pom-ti-pom type of noise. Kim stood in the middle of the bedroom looking around her, frowning.

“If I was a dirty movie,” she mused under her breath, “where would I be?”

Her dad had a whole air-raid shelter at the bottom of the garden for his. But she had the feeling that Sergeant Broadbent would keep his a little bit closer to his person – somewhere accessible and yet out of the way of Mrs. B…

She opened a drawer idly. It was evidently one of Mrs. B’s, for it contained a corset, several pairs of support tights and a pair of bulletproof socks. And a pair of handcuffs. Kim raised an interested eyebrow, took a picture and shut the drawer.

The king-size walk-in wardrobe was just as rewarding. Among the starched regulation shirts and black nylon trousers she discovered a French maid’s uniform and a panda suit. And a nurse’s uniform. And something that looked like a harness for a masochistic carthorse. Kim giggled as she took the photos. Who needed videos? The Sergeant and his wife were obviously just a normal East Jericho couple, at least as far as habits were concerned. There were a couple of those as well.

Kim had been in this business long enough to know that geography had a major influence on all types of things, including sexual pursuits. East Jerichoans went in for dressing up a lot and amusing role-playing games, Southerners, particularly Parklands natives, were into bondage and Continental battery-powered stimulating devices, West Jericho residents seemed to restrict all sexual activity to Sabbath afternoons and half-day closing, as they were all too busy during the night and working hours, and from what she knew of the North and Central Jericho lot they just went in for sex, any time, anywhere, anyhow. East and South were best as far as business was concerned. It was also not surprising to Kim that the majority of the population was under twenty-one. This was the dominant section; no matter how hard the older generations fought, Jericho youth always had the upper hand. And it got stronger by the decade as adults got tougher. Kim had justified her blackmailing as a means of survival – children are blackmailing their parents everywhere all the time, from the moment they can say ‘If you don’t get me a lolly I’ll SCREAM!’

Regretfully, Kim closed the wardrobe and continued her search. Sergeant Broadbent was accompanying the violins in a slightly wavering tenor.

After only a few fruitless minutes Kim was once again standing in the middle of the room.

There HAD to be somewhere else…



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